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Monday, December 22, 2003

VIPAC suggests writing to President Bush

In support of the right of Jews to live throughout Israel
In America and in other true democracies, people are free to practice their religion, any religion, anywhere and at any time. This country contains a wide mixture of religions and sects: Mormons, Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Protestants and even Atheists … to name just a few.

Our country prides itself on the freedoms it allows for all peoples and in the way we go out of our way to protect those freedoms. In most parts of the world the wide variety of ideas and freedoms found in America do not exist. Life is generally dominated by the majority and the minorities are prosecuted or restricted in the manner in which they can carry out their beliefs. Few countries allow or nurture the wide variety of ethnicity and religions as are found in America.

In walking the streets of Israel one finds a wide variety of ethnic cultures. Not only among the Jews who found refuge from persecution there, but among the non-Jews who have made their homes there. The Moslems have a major holy site in Jerusalem. For many Christians, Jerusalem is held to be a shrine of preeminent holiness. The Israeli city of Haifa contains the shrines of the Bahai religion and other religions such as the Druze exist in freedom throughout Israel.

But only to the Jews is Jerusalem and Israel the most holiest of places. The Christians have Rome and many other shrines. The Moslems have Mecca and Medina. To the Jews there is only Israel.

One would think that the Jews would be reluctant to share their one country with the rest of the world but that has not proven to be the case. They have never prevented other peoples from observing their religions. For nineteen years the Kingdom of Jordan ruled Jerusalem but did not choose to refurbish the golden dome of the City’s Mosque until the city was ruled by the Jews. Christian Monks walk the streets of the Old City with Hassidim in peace. The shocking truth is that the Jews have less freedom to worship and live in their own country than do other groups.

Last week a group of Jewish worshippers were attacked in Nablus while returning from worshipping at the Tomb of Joseph. A Rabbi was murdered there three years ago on his way to protect holy books from destruction by the Arabs. An Israeli soldier was killed at the Tomb trying to protect the freedom of worship.

Your call for another Arab Palestinian State, this one within the borders of Israel, is contrary to the spirit of the religious freedom our country stands for. Will the Arabs permit Jews within their “State”? Will they allow Jews to worship at their holy sites?

The Arabs failed the test at the beginning of their current war against the Jews when they burned the Tomb of Joseph, destroyed an ancient synagogue in Jericho and damaged numerous other holy sites. The Arab call for the demolition of all Jewish towns and cities within the area they claim is blatant segregation. Apartheid! Arabs are free to live throughout Israel. Jews live in Hebron and other cities and places holy to their religion at the risk of their lives.

The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira recently issuedthe following declaration: “We are encountering intentions, Heaven forbid, to evacuate Jewish communities in our Holy Land … We stand in shock at these futile ideas and thoughts, that come not from within, but from without. Our Sages have taught us: ‘The first stage of defeat is retreat.’ … We must answer the call and come to the aid of these heroes in every spot in Israel, and take action to prevent the uprooting of communities. Such destruction is forbidden according to our holy Torah…”

The Jews of Israel have the right to live in their holy land. They have the right to live in all parts of their land. It is contrary to the principles of America to allow the Arabs the sole exclusive right to any part of the land of Israel to the exclusion of other peoples or other religions. The principles of freedom are not served by the uprooting of the Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

I urge you to support the right of the Jews to live throughout Israel.

A bit too long for any politician to actually read, but I completely support the position and the sentiment.

In this Nov. 28, 2003 file photo, Israeli outpost settler Eli Chai Dinner
plays with his three month old daughter Adi, as his wife Hadassa looks
on from the doorway of their one year old trailer home, at the Mitzpeh
Danny outpost, where twenty Israeli families now call home, in the
West Bank. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)